Welcome to Day 20 of our 3M Fast. One of the reasons why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit is to help us learn how to be more godly. The Holy Spirit will convict us of our sin and guide us in choosing well when faced with temptations, thus producing godly characteristics within us. According to Ephesians 3 verse 16 (ESV)
“that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being.”
Ephesians 3:16 (ESV)
The characteristics or ingredients that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives is called “Fruit of the Spirit.” What “Fruit?” Why not call it something else? Interestingly enough, the Bible uses a lot of agricultural metaphors because they were easily understood by the highly agricultural culture at that time. The “Fruit of the Spirit” refers to the results we should see in our lives after receiving the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 1 verses 13-14 (NLT) it says,
“And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NLT)
The “Fruit” metaphor helps us see our faith as a tree with branches that may or may not produce fruit, depending on how well we take care of the tree itself. If we give the tree nourishment; the Word of God, then it will grow bigger. If we clear away weeds and insects; our sinful tendencies, then we can keep the tree healthy. If we consult a professional gardener; God, then we can be sure that we’re on the right track.
Every Believer ought to bear fruit. If you’re not exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit in your life, at best, you will experience stagnation – no growth at all. At worst, the result of bad Fruit is death. And that’s because our sinfulness produces rotted, poisoned fruit that reflects our sinful nature and hurts us in the end. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit produces beautiful nourishing fruit that reflects God’s nature and will ultimately benefit our lives. Hey Pastor, how can my faith produce the fruit of the Spirit? Every Believer is in a constant battle between our sinful nature and our new nature in Christ. Unfortunately, just because we’ve accepted Christ doesn’t mean we’re automatically immune to sinful temptations. In fact, sometimes it may feel like we’re trapped in a desire to reach for the sinful thing rather than the godly thing. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. The very presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts means we get to choose godliness over sinfulness. The choice is 100% ours/yours! You are no longer a slave to your sinful nature! You get to choose love over hate, patience over hostile frustration, faithfulness over disloyalty, joy over sadness, kindness over meanness, and gentleness over harshness. Yes it’s true, we sometimes decide we aren’t strong enough to conquer our sinful desires, but that’s the beauty of having the Holy Spirit! He gives us power to Fight and Produce! All we have to do is tap into that Power and Practice obedience to God’s Word and His direction.
Listen, if you plant an apple seed in some soil, but then never do anything else with it, it would be crazy for me/us to expect to see an apple. Planting the seed is an important first step, but in order to grow, the seed needs to be cultivated, placed in the sun, watered, fertilized, pruned and nurtured to grow into a beautiful apple tree that will bloom with plenty of healthy apples. Well we are the same way. The day we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit is planted in our spirit. But that’s just the beginning of our journey. We must then take steps to nurture our relationship with Jesus so that we begin to grow and grow to look more like Him in His manner, attitude, and actions. That’s what it means to produce spiritual fruit.